Cape Lookout Albies [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Cape Lookout Albies

11-06-2000, 11:24 AM
I was down in NC chasing albies for 6 days ending last wednesday. We got there on Friday the 27th and were greeted with a fierce sustained 30kt wind, no the start we'd been hoping for. By Saturday morning the wind had tapered off some to about 15kts, which ended up being about average for the trip. Saturday morning we caught the first ferry out to the spit on Cape Lookout. We had two hookups on Saturday, one straightened hook and one bruiser that must've pushed 18# landed and released. We also picked up a few spanish macks and there were plenty of bottom fish around that were eager to pounce on any fly that was allowed to settle to the bottom. Sunday was pretty much a repeat of Saturday, two hookups, one fish landed.
Monday we went out aboard the Gottafly with Captain Lee Parsons. We chased finicky pods of fish for the first couple of hours. I managed 2 seagulls on two consecutive casts while my partner landed the first albie of the day. Not long after than word came in over the radio that all hell had broken loose outside the beaufort inlet and we went over to take a look. When we got there there were birds and breaking fish everywhere, along with more boats than i thought i'd ever seen. We were into fish for quite a while, i don't really know how long, until the crowding got unbearable and we decided to go find some fish of our own. We found more fish, but when Capt. Parsons tried to alert some other guides the hordes descended on us. It was a great day on the water and we lost count of all the fish we landed, with only 2 fish hooked but not landed(both mine, both broken tippet).
Tuesday we headed back out to the spit armed with some new knowledge and a little more composure in the face of breaking fish. We ended up having the area to ourselves except for a couple of wannabe shore fishermen in boats that were regularly in danger of being plunked with a clouser. We landed 5 fish between the two of us, including 1 double.
Albie flies that had been sure things for us on MV were rejected numerous times, and we ended up fishing two flies exclusively from sunday on: The tutti-fuity clouser and the pearl necklace. I'll try to scan a pic of these flies and put them in the archive if anyone is interested.
Below are a couple of pics from the trip, the rest are on slide film and i'm still waiting on development." border="0">

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thanks grego

11-06-2000, 11:31 AM
Nice pics!

Modify your message; you need to put "img=" and put the "square brackets" around the entire thing!

i'm so outta here
11-06-2000, 11:33 AM
Matt -- great story. Awesome pics! I gotta see the rooty tooty fruiti thing.

11-06-2000, 02:23 PM
VERY COOL! Hey guess where we all need to go next year!?!?!

Thanks Matt, look forward to more MORE!!

11-06-2000, 02:30 PM
Fish in Top picture looks very different from bottom two. The bottom ones have a lot more markings, or is that just the light playing differently?

11-06-2000, 03:04 PM
The different colorations are a result of the light. We fished MV earlier this fall and found that many of our pics didn't come out well because the light reflecting off the side of the fish obscured the markings. For this trip we experimented quite a bit with different fish placement in the pics. The greenish one(i think) is pretty much straight up and down with the tail towards the camera and the sun behind the camera. The other two have the bottom of the fish turned away from the camera and the head closer to the camera.

The guide had a digital camera as well, but he won't be back to email till december so i'll have to wait a while for those. He printed up copies of the best fish, but the printout didn't scan too well.

Nathan Smith
11-06-2000, 04:12 PM
Glad you did so well. More and more people are catching on and the great thing is everyone is catch and release so it should stay strong. I remember going a dozen time without seeing anyone else fishing for them. Guess those days are gone. I only wish they would ban gill nets too. If they did NC would be as good as florida for reds.

11-06-2000, 04:55 PM
I gave it another shot at scanning the printout from the guide's computer with considerably better results. Below is one of my better fish from the trip.


Not quite sure how i manage to screw up the photos everytime, but i think that should fix it.

i'm so outta here
11-06-2000, 05:23 PM
That is an awesome fish!!

11-06-2000, 06:05 PM
WOW! ! ! That baby must have smoked the drag pretty good. What were you using for tackle?


11-06-2000, 06:25 PM

By the way, great shots of tunoids, MattB. Awesome trip to N.C. Albie behavior is quite different from up north. For some reason, they ball the bait down south.

Catch and release sounds like good logic and practice for the propagation of the species. With no human consumption, you would think they would multiply and stay strong. I'm sure they have their peak/low years of rejuvenating. There was a story going around RI, that hundreds were caught in fish traps and used for lobster bait. Can't confirm if it were true or not.

Wish more studies were done on the mortality rate of release fish. When they fight to the death, we launch them back to the unknown. It's a shame if more could be done to revive them?

Bob Pink
11-06-2000, 07:25 PM
Matt, those shots have me drooling on the keyboard. It's definitly time to plan for next year.... Tidewaters 'Clave!

Ray, your comment about releasing albies raises an old question about the best way to revive and release. When I first started fishing for them up here it was with hesitation because of the reports that they fought to 'the death'. What I've used for the past two summers is a revival technique just like for stripers. That way I know they are pumping water over the gills and ready to swim on their own...once that tail starts thumpin' it's time to let 'em go. I know many swear by the 'spike' method but I've watched too many head straight to the bottom and out of sight..just makes me uncomfortable.

11-06-2000, 08:53 PM

Couldn't agree with you more Bob. The fact that they disappear into the unknown makes us feel that we did all the right things. We, as fishers, have a mindset that if the fish doesn't float belly up, all is well. Albies have negative buoyancy because of their density and failure to trap air in their systems. It's easy to tell from shore if resuscitation works because they swim away naturally. Throw them off a breakwall and who knows. Same is said from a boat.

Glad you take the extra time to get them on their way. If they are that elusive and that hard to catch, you know is worth the effort. When we catch one on the boat, one of us puts the boat in gear, while the other holds the fish along side, rushing water through its gills. As you say, off it goes when you feel the tail start thumping. Only then, do you know that it has a chance of survival.

11-07-2000, 08:42 AM
Might be worth experimenting. By using a darning needle to puncture the membrane between the jawbone and the tongue, you could pass monofilament thru it without harm. This way, we could lower the fish into the water and feed line holding both ends at the boat to see how the fish fares after release. Once it starts to move rigorously, releasing one end of the mono will free the fish. If it dies, we'll just have to start eating them!

11-07-2000, 11:04 AM
Or better yet, little transmitters. They gotta be affordable by now, and could be externally mounted on a fin using a little clip, which would surely corrode or be thrown in a reasonable time. I like this because you could use it from shore and for all species.

Studies were conducted to track the movements of chinook salmon in Washington State. Obviiously, they had to be caught to be tagged. Anyway, the fish were found to have distinct inshore / shallow water preference from evening thru morning, and offshore deep water preference by day... as a general rule.

I'd like to see if a large striper had a recurring pattern over some number of days, for instance on Monomoy flats.

The rate of ascent in a river by a salmon or steelhead would be of interest.

11-07-2000, 03:56 PM
Quentin, I must've overlooked your post earlier,sorry.
I was using a 10 weight setup with a LL Bean quest rod, a redington AL 9/10 reel and a rio aqualux intermediate 11 weight line. The big guy above did give me a bit of a scare with the backing, i couldn't see arbor but i can't imagine i was far from it. He also gave my knuckles a solid smack about 3/4 of the way through the fight, I thought i had him beat but he had other plans and i didn't quite get my thumb out of the way in time.

I was really happy with the way all my tackle performed, the redington gave me a bit of trouble on it's first outing this summer so i was a little worried, but i haven't had any real problems since that first trip.


11-07-2000, 05:13 PM
Thanks Matt, I wondered what size setup you need to subdue a bruiser like that.

11-07-2000, 09:44 PM
Hi Matt,

I enjoyed your story, pictures and info about your trip. Sure looks like a great time to me.

I am curious about what their primary prey is down there. Since they didn't show interest in the same flies we are accustomed to using around the cape, I would think the bait is different than peanut bunkers, silversides etc..I wonder if sand eels even live down there? It sounded like there was quite an assortment of fish all around, Did you happen to notice some of the bait/fish around the albies were chasing?

A few good photos for those bait fish for the archives could inspire a few new patterns for next years NC albie clave.


11-07-2000, 11:15 PM
Cut it out!

Nice pics Matt!

11-08-2000, 06:57 AM
We saw silversides, glass minnows, juvie mullet(lots), and something the locals call bloodbait(maybe Nate can speak up on this one). I didn't see any sand eels. I had fish turn away from white bonito bunnies, white clousers, and chart and white clousers. I also couldn't seem to buy a hit on a crease fly, but i've heard that they've been working well.

I don't know how to explain it: the tutti-fruity(pink&chart) certainly didn't look like any of the bait i was seeing, yet it caught the majority of the fish caught.

I tried to take some pics of the flies to post here, but my 35mm camera didn't focus on them right(must've been too close). Does anyone have tips for photographing flies?


Nathan Smith
11-08-2000, 12:09 PM
There are no sand eels in the south. Primary bait is silver sides and juvie mullets which are called finger mullets. People talk about how ablies down south act different then the ones in the north. There are two things to note. One thing to note is that since northern fishermen see so few albies up here they don't understand there behavior as well as they understand other fish like stripers. The other thing is that in general the fish that are caught up here a babies. With those two things said here is what I've noticed about the albies in NC. They generally swim so fast throught bait you need to catch there eye. Those tutti-fruity(pink&chart) flies sound good. I have used blue over pink and other mixed colors too. I also had a 50 fish day with white/white clousers as well. I am suprised to hear that crease flies did well, they must have been small. generally I will use a small slider type fly. Anyway If we have a tying clave I will show everyone some of my favorite patterns.
Also next year we will try to do a NC clave. I can get two or three boats. It sounds like there is some interest. There is nothing like a 20lbs albie. PS my day went for reds 2 weeks ago and said he caught all he wanted the largest about 10lbs.

11-08-2000, 02:20 PM
Reds sound good too! I've set my mind to do this. Thanks for all your input, keep it coming!

I assume a Southern Slam is an albie, bonito and a red or seatrout?

How ;bout baby tarpon?

(starting to drool)

Nathan Smith
11-09-2000, 06:35 PM
I have only seen a few tarpon caught there in my life and they where long lined. For this time a year a grand slam would be a blue, sea trout, redfish, and an albie. Bonito are more of a spring fish down home.

11-10-2000, 12:17 PM
Thanks for the info about the bait Matt and Nathan. I was surprized to see mullet range that far north. Always thought of them as a florida bound species. I 'll have to check the archives for some of the patterns mentioned. Not to surprised about the eels not living there.

I certainly like the variety of fish the area has to offer.
It's seems like alot tuniods frequent the area, I wonder how long through out the year you can find tuna there?

Snook is another variety I'm familiar with from florida fishing. I would expect the snook and tarpon fishing is better around cape fear area or the Palmico sound? I would think it's the northern most point they tend to travel.

I'm certainly up for a clave outing there in the future.


Nathan Smith
11-10-2000, 01:41 PM
There are no snook there at all and no tarpon. My father is a commercial fisherman and so is all my family and I have heard of 2 or 3 fish caught in my life. There is great tuna fishing there along with Mai Mai, sailfish, wahoo, and Marlin. NC has really be know as a big game location. FF is pretty new there. Anyone who is planning on going really should think about going big gaming. Also There is a place called Cape Lookout Flyfishing which does big game FF. How about some 13 weight action?

11-10-2000, 02:12 PM
If the area is kind of known for big game fishing, doing it with a fly rod sounds great to me. I'm certainly not equiped with a 9/10 for anything to big. I have been thinking of trying out that type of fly fishing.

I thought snook might be up there if Reds, mullet and other warm water varieties range that far, Apparently not. They are another fun variety to catch.

Thanks again,